In a recent case a nurse breached her contract and was dismissed by her employer, a District Health Board (DHB).

She felt she was unjustifiably dismissed and sought special leave to raise a personal grievance outside the 90 day time limit on the basis that she was not, during that time, in a mental state to consider taking action against the DHB.

To prove her state of mind at the time, she brought evidence forward from a relative and her medical practitioner.

In rebuttal, the DHB sought to bring their own evidence about her mental health, to contradict her claim.

The nurse opposed the Health Board’s evidence about her mental state being admitted on the grounds that it was confidential. However, the Court held that no one could have reasonably expected that the DHB would not disclose the information about her mental health.

Because she herself had raised the issue of her mental state, and brought evidence about it, any confidentiality was outweighed by the Court’s need to have all the information to assess the nurse’s mental and emotional state at the time.

If you are involved in proceedings all the information relevant to your claim could come out in Court, even if it is confidential, such as medical information.

For advice or information on employment issues, please feel free to call Alan Knowsley.